Oct 23, 2017

GlobalGiving's 2017 Fail Forward Contest

Water supply to 13,000 villagers in Nigeria
Water supply to 13,000 villagers in Nigeria

GlobalGiving September Accelerator crowdfunding for Provision of Water supply to 13000 Rural Dwellers in Nigeria.

This project report is a submission to GlobalGiving's 2017 Fail Forward Contest, where organizations are asked to share a story of when they tried something new that didn't go as planned and how they learned from it. Enjoy!

Dako foundation for Rural Healthcare and Education (DFRHCE) works to improve the living conditions of disadvantaged communities in Nigeria through public health measures, education and direct medical interventions, ultimately empowering communities to advocate for their improved well-being.

In Nigeria, access to safe and regular water supply is a major challenge especially as more than half (62.6%) of its people live in poverty. Clean and regular water supply has not kept pace with the rapid rate of population increase. Water scarcity, poor water quality and inadequate sanitation negatively impact food security, livelihood choices and educational opportunities for poor families and water borne diseases such as diarrheal, cholera, typhoid, hookworm etc. This situation is particularly worse in underserved rural communities where most of the children die due to preventable diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene. This situation is very rife in the communities where DFRHCE plans to implement a water project to serve 13,000 rural dwellers.

Dako foundation for Rural healthcare and Education (DFRHCE) has been active in local fund raising campaigns which has led to successful project implementation in underserved communities in Nigeria. For example, DFRHCE successfully sank an industrial borehole which turned out to be an artesian water source which flows from about 400feet beneath on its own without mechanical pumping. This currently serves as the major source of water for the local community and beyond. But a larger number of people including farmers, school children who continuously get late to school due to long distance walk to fetch water before attending school several times daily etc increasingly access this water source by walking a distance of over 5KM per trip from neighbouring communities. Thus, there is need to further extend this artesian water supply to reach these neighbouring communities that lack access to water supply. This water storage and extension project is expected to benefit communities and end their lingering inability to access regular potable water supply.

The failed fundraising Strategy

For the above reasons, Dako Foundation for Rural Healthcare and Education (DFRHCE) conducted a local fundraising campaign to raise funds towards the construction of a 40 feet (ft) high scaffolding at the artesian water source in order to carry 10,000Litres of water reservoir from where water would be distributed through pipes to six (6) other neighbouring communities total 5kM distance. Serving about 6000 people in its primary community and another 7000 residents through its water extension from the source to neighbouring communities.

So DFRHCE planned, developed proposal, conducted discussions sessions with key stakeholders, local organisations etc. Initially, all efforts, meetings to raise funds towards this water extension project seemed promising. However, many of the donors who initially pledged their support for the project defaulted in their pledges resulting in a failed fundraising for the major water project extension. After careful analysis, we identified insufficient follow up strategy on donors by DFRHCE and the economic crisis that lingered in Nigeria as the major challenges and drawbacks to the fundraising campaign.

How DFRHCE learned from it!

Coming from a failed strategy, there was the need for re-strategizing. Dako Foundation for Rural Healthcare and Education (DFRHCE) listed the media of communication for prospective donors, how and at what time to best reach them while emphasizing the importance of telephone conversations. Initially, we had relied heavily on mails and Whatsapp messages alone which were previously effective in our mini projects. However, these communication channels were not as efficient for a major project like the Provision of potable water supply to 13000 rural dwellers in Nigeria. DFRHCE utilised every available means of connecting people such as Facebook, website, whatsapp, email, face-to-face discussions, seminars etc. to reach prospective donors and increase our donor base, targeting new donors.  Amazingly, this proved effective in raising over $5000 within two weeks from over 40 donors to secure DFRHCE water project on GlobalGiving platform.

Another lesson learnt from the previously failed crowd funding was never to underestimate any donor by assuming their inability to donate towards your course. Dako foundation compiled a detailed list of prospective donors and updated it as donor base increases; without underestimating any donor supposed inability to donate but rather getting the information across to them.

Now, joining GlobalGiving gave DFRHCE the opportunity for a new and challenging online crowdfunding experience especially as it exposes our project to a large population including those in the US, UK and beyond the local community we reside. We were able to utilize lessons learnt from the previous failed indigenous crowdfunding efforts in other to meet the GlobalGiving online crowdfunding target for our water extension project. DFRHCE also found the learning opportunities and study materials provided by GlobalGiving to be very helpful. The skills learnt were helpful in increasing our donation to meet the $7500 from 50 donor targets required to give our project a homepage feature on GlobalGiving and more access to donors! These materials were helpful in designing our Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat (SWOT) analysis, knowing what platform our donors use, designing effective donation options and key messages.

However, more donations are still required to meet the overall project goal of $54000 to successfully implement the project of providing potable water supply to 13,000 rural dwellers in 7 communities in Nigeria. Now, Dako Foundation for Rural Health care and Education (DFRHCE) has been able to raise about $9,573 through GlobalGiving towards implementing the project. This was made possible through effective follow up mechanism on donors, constant sharing of project link across social media and learning tools from GlobalGiving.  Thus, DFRHCE project had a widespread donation including new donors from Australia, Europe, America and South Africa. 

 
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